GHIC vs. Travel Insurance: What’s the Difference and Do You Need Both

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Planning a trip can be an exciting experience, but it’s important to take the necessary precautions to protect yourself and your loved ones while travelling. One of the most critical steps in this process is ensuring you have adequate health coverage in case of illness or injury. Two options for obtaining this coverage are a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), which is now what you’ll get when you renew an EHIC card, and travel insurance. In this post, we’ll explore the differences between GHIC and travel insurance and help you determine if you need both.

What is a GHIC?

A GHIC is a card that allows you to access state-provided healthcare in the European Union (EU), Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein. It replaces the old European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which was discontinued in December 2020. The GHIC is free, and you can apply for it online if you’re a resident of the UK, European Economic Area (EEA), or Switzerland.

The GHIC covers medically necessary healthcare services that you might need during your trip, such as emergency treatment, maternity care, and routine medical care for chronic illnesses. However, it does not cover private healthcare or services that are not medically necessary.

What is travel insurance?

Travel insurance is a type of insurance that covers unforeseen events that might occur before or during your trip. It typically covers expenses related to trip cancellation or interruption, medical emergencies, evacuation, and lost or stolen luggage.

There are different types of travel insurance policies available, so it’s important to choose one that fits your specific needs. For example, you might opt for a policy that covers adventure activities if you plan to go bungee jumping or scuba diving, or a policy that includes coverage for pre-existing medical conditions.

Do you need both?

The short answer is yes. While the GHIC covers medically necessary healthcare services in certain countries, it does not provide the same level of protection as travel insurance. Here are some reasons why you might need both:

GHIC does not cover non-medical expenses: If you need to cancel your trip due to a non-medical reason, such as a family emergency or work-related issue, GHIC will not cover any expenses. Travel insurance, on the other hand, may cover cancellation or interruption due to a variety of reasons, depending on the policy you choose.

GHIC does not cover private healthcare: If you require private healthcare services, such as a private hospital room or specialized treatment that is not available through the state healthcare system, the GHIC will not cover these expenses. Travel insurance, however, may cover these costs if they are included in your policy.

GHIC does not cover all countries: While the GHIC covers healthcare services in the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein, it does not cover healthcare in other countries. If you’re travelling outside of these areas, you’ll need travel insurance to cover medical emergencies and other unforeseen events.

GHIC does not cover all medical expenses: While the GHIC covers medically necessary healthcare services, it may not cover all medical expenses you may incur during your trip. For example, if you require a medical evacuation, this may not be covered by the GHIC. Travel insurance can provide coverage for these types of expenses.

A GHIC and travel insurance are both essential for protecting yourself and your loved ones while travelling. While the GHIC provides basic medical coverage in certain countries, it does not cover non-medical expenses or provide comprehensive coverage for all medical expenses. Travel insurance, on the other hand, can provide coverage for a variety of unforeseen events, including medical emergencies, trip cancellation or interruption, and lost or stolen luggage.





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